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Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve on Thursday announced significant changes to its rules regulating officials' financial activities following controversy last month over some officials' past trading practices.

Why it matters: The rule revamp is a coda to the biggest scandal to hit the Fed in recent memory.

Catch up quick: Recent financial disclosures showed two regional Fed officials owned — and in one case, actively traded — assets sensitive to the monetary policy they helped shape.

  • Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell conceded last month its current rules around what Fed officials can trade or own are "not adequate."
  • This month, the Fed announced that a government watchdog would review whether the two officials' activities violated the central bank’s rules or the law.

The big picture: Under the new rules, Fed policymakers and senior staff will be banned from buying individual securities and will restrict active trading, per the press release.

  • They will also bolster the timeliness of reporting and public financial disclosures by requiring policymakers and senior staff to get prior approval for any purchases or sales of securities, give 45 days of advance notice on any purchases and sales of securities, and hold onto investments for at least one year.
  • "Further, no purchases or sales will be allowed during periods of heightened financial market stress," the press release noted.
  • Senior Fed officials will now only be allowed to buy diversified investment vehicles, like mutual funds, the Fed said.

The bottom line: "These tough new rules raise the bar high in order to assure the public we serve that all of our senior officials maintain a single-minded focus on the public mission of the Federal Reserve," Powell said in the press release.

Go deeper

Dec 1, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: GOP warns Biden about Fed pick

Richard Cordray is seen during his 2018 Ohio gubernatorial bid. Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Key Republicans are warning President Biden not to nominate Richard Cordray, a progressive and former director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to be the top banking regulator on the Federal Reserve.

Driving the news: Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is indicating the GOP will use a potential Cordray nomination to re-litigate his tenure at the CFBP, an agency devised by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and fiercely opposed by most Republicans.

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

The latest: Lawyers for James and Jennifer Crumbley told the Detroit News they are "returning to the area to be arraigned," after law enforcement officials announced a search for the Crumbleys had been initiated.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.